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Monday morning, a group of mainly white protesters, who apparently don’t have jobs, shut down streets in Washington, D.C., a city predominantly made up of people of color. Presumably, many people who do have jobs were prevented from getting to them. And this raises a question: Is this kind of a climate protest an example of white privilege? Is this form of protest on this particular issue something the protesters’ skin tone and economic privilege make possible?
This is an issue CNN contributor Bakari Sellers raised in an opinion piece last month. He writes: “Climate change should be a definitive issue for Black voters, but it isn’t. That is partly because environmental advocacy groups have not always looked like us, nor have they clarified what solutions mean for our communities. And few have articulated what real environmental justice looks like.”
Reason - Progressives - Climate - Change - Issue
There is a reason for this. For white progressives, climate change is a unique issue in which racial guilt plays little to no role. Other issues such as police brutality, income inequality, and even women’s rights and access to abortion are steeped in what they perceive as the racist foundation of our country. On these issues, white protesters in the post-Occupy age feel they bear no small amount of collective guilt. But on climate change, for once, they can be the victim, not just the ally.
And man, are they enjoying it. This is the moment for angry, young white people not only to be angry, but to actually be oppressed. It is their own future that they believe is being stripped from them by failure to accept that if we don’t act in the next eight minutes, all is lost. It is their lives that amorphous and evil global corporate and government powers are endangering.
Finally, they can express righteous indignation not just...
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